If you have been coming to my classes recently I will have taught you this wide legged pose called Prasaritta Padottanasana:

For many of us we start like this woman in red- feet wide, legs stretching up and hands on a bit of height to make it easier for us.  It’s a great way to stay in the pose – maybe for two or three minutes- the key is to feel the feet spreading and the energy in your legs is being drawn up into your hips.  You can even do this with your arms stretching forwards to a chair.
The second stage is trying to extend the trunk in two directions like this woman in purple- she has two helpers- but you get the idea!

If you practice this every day you will soon be able to take the hands to the floor and extend like this.  In my opinion it is a much more useful asana than ‘downward dog’ (Adho Mukha Svanasana) for waking up the entire body.

I have given out homework sheets to many of my students with many poses on to try over the holidays…but I am a realist…so if you only have time to do one pose over the break then this is the pose to do!

The end result we are aiming for is like this woman in green- head down and hands back.

Notice that her legs are upright- not leaning forwards or backwards- and her back is slightly rounded.  There is weight in her head, hands and feet.  We can put blocks under the crown of our head if we can’t quite reach.  This pose has the widest leg position of any Yoga  standing pose- but that does not mean that you should take your feet too wide!  You must feel that you are fully in control of your legs at all times- if you go too wide the feet can feel like they might slip away.  A great way to practice this pose is to find a hallway the right width so you can have the outer edge of both feet supported before you go forwards- if your hallway is too wide you can shorten it using Yoga blocks up against the walls.

Let me know how you get on!